The Internet Is Flooded with Wikipedia Edits Made by Government and Big Oil

The Internet Is Flooded with Wikipedia Edits Made by Government and Big Oil

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 The WikiMedia Foundation Office. Photo by Dmgultekin. 
 Last week, I looked into the edits that computers inside of Canada’s House of Commons had been making to Wikipedia, and found out that several Canadian politicians had their staffers edit out sections of their boss’s articles pertaining to their personal controversies, ethics investigations, and spending scandals. Digging into the Wikipedia edits made by powerful organizations is not necessarily a new thing, but after code was released earlier this month for a Twitterbot that automatically tweets anytime a computer within a certain IP range (an array of internet addresses associated to a government or corporation) edits Wikipedia, online alert systems that monitor edits from known government and corporate IPs sprung up all across the web. For the Canadian government, that account is called @GCCAEdits.
 This proliferation of Twitterbots has created a landslide of data, and much of it is fairly innocuous. Oftentimes, this data simply reveals that government employees or corporate workerbees are editing Wikipedia articles to pass the time, that often pertains to nerdy subjects like video games or TV shows. But every so often you can catch an example of censorship—usually reversed by the Wikipedia community—where a government or corporate actor tries to blur, or simply redact, certain truths from the internet.
 Since writing about the Wikipedia edits last week, I found a few interesting edits that provide a glimpse into the biases and agendas of both government and industry. 

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